Leaving Drudgery for Coffee with a Chicken

Weekdays during the school year have a pretty standard routine in our house. Well, more like a series of multiple mini-routines; nonetheless, there is little variety day-to-day. Over time these daily routines can begin to feel automatic and eventually boring…then hollow…and then drudgery.

I hate when things get to that point. I feel my body cringe with every step of the daily routines. The early morning alarm, sounding in the darkness, feels torturous. School papers pile up in the bottoms of the multitude of backpacks as I avoid spelling lists and sight words. School lunches lose their individual touch and become a handful of pre-packaged foods that I can’t even label as “good enough”.

The downward slide feels awful for me and I’m sure it feels equally as bad to my kids.

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I know I’m not the only woman to find herself begging for a break from the monotony of every day life. And like other women, I have found that even when a break in the school calendar shows up, the relief is short lived. The dread, and dare I say–resentment–transfers to a different set of must-do family care tasks.

At the beginning of last school year I decided that I was done with that downward spiral. It wasn’t serving anyone, least of all me. In deciding on a course of action to change my course of action, I knew I didn’t need to reinvent the wheel or create a more complex system. I didn’t want to find myself again ruled by MORE check-lists–mastered BY not master OF each day. Not another day could pass with me playing catch-up in a schedule that offered no beauty and nurturing pause.

I didn’t know exactly where to start. I mean, all the daily routines still needed to happen but I needed space in there, too. My first move was small, but it ended up being powerful. After the kids boarded their school bus I drank my morning coffee on my porch. I breathed slowly, sitting on the cold cement and watched my chickens scratch the earth in their search for tasty, hidden bits. I watched the leaves in the trees overhead dance in the breeze and felt the embrace of sun as it warmed my back. After a few weeks my cuckoo maran would come sit next to me and let me put my arm around her. Silly as it sounds, the hopes of her unexpected companionship kept me sitting outside even after the Minnesota fall extended from frost on the picnic table into a firmly frozen ground.

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This change wasn’t a major overhaul of my life, it was merely a nurturing act that I could maintain, do every day. Just one small change that provided stillness, beauty, and depth perception for my soul in my every day life. It fit, it was manageable, it was pleasurable, it made me feel better. It was just the start of bigger changes in my life.

What small change can you make to add stillness, beauty, and an element of re-charge in your daily life? You don’t have to quit your life as it is, you just need to add some small act of kindness specific to your needs. What do you need today?

I’d love to hear from you. Share your nurturing ritual with me on Instagram. You can tag me @bigbeautifuladventure.

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